Thursday 1 December 2011

Reasons to be cheerful and how to make cheap and cheerful Christmas gifts!

It's that time of the week again when i like to stop and reflect on all my reasons to be cheerful despite the heavy non-stop raining grey skies up above. It did make me smile this morning when the radio happily reported that there would be the occasional rainfall! If you would like to take part in Reasons to be cheerful pop over see Penny of Planet Penny's blog here and share your reasons to be cheerful.

Do you like my photo of the red hydrangea? I was pleasantly surprised to see this the other day, I would have thought that most hydangea's would have died by this time of the year. I thought it looked so pretty and festive for the beginning of December.

Alice surprised me with her festive snowflake garland she made on the weekend, she decided it was time to start "blinging up" her room with Christmas decorations. They did make me smile and I was impressed with her reasonably tasteful take on bling :0)

A very BIG and special reason to be cheerful today when i got home from work was to find this little fella all neatly wrapped up in a parcel waiting for me.... I couldn't contain my excitement when I saw him. 

Oh my goodness, thank you so much Penny for the sweetest most lovely needle felted robin. I ADORE him and will treasure him forever. Penny sells these sweet birds amongst all her other makes on her Folksy shop here and are really reasonably priced considering all the hard work put into them. Go and have a look for yourself, I promise it's worth it xox

I love his little claws... just perfect (sorry about the quality of this photo, no natural light available today)

Lastly, I wanted to share my cheap and cheerful Christmas mini-gift makes with you. You might like to do this with your kids if you have time. My inspiration comes from the lovely Victoria of Yarn around hook blog found here. She used microwave / air dry fimo for her decorations but I couldn't find any locally so I chose das. I bought 500g for £2.55 in my local art supply store and liked that it is child friendly as I thought it would be a bit of fun for Alice and I to make these together. So here's what we did:-

1. Roll out your soft das on a flat surface. I used our kitchen floor (not ideal if you have a sore back!) and placed some kitchen cling film on the floor to ensure I didn't have to scratch clay off the floor! An everyday rolling pin is perfect for this. I borrowed the two wooden stick/panels from Alice's art teacher as I wanted my clay to be level but it's not that hard to get it level without these so they are not completely necessary.

2. Pull out your cookie cutters, preferably festive Christmas ones, but it really doesn't matter.

3. Find some cotton doilies for next to nothing in your local charity shop. Or if you're feeling very inspired hook some up for yourself to use. I found 6 for 10p in a Christmas fare last year!

4. Pop a doily or 2 on top of the das clay and roll over it so it becomes imprinted on the clay

5. Now this is when the fun begins, pull your imprinted doily off and see what you made.

6. Get your cookie cutter and have fun choosing which part of the pattern you want to cut out and get cutting

Of course you can always have your own sweet angel help you with the cutting :0)

7. I then used a straw to make a little hole for eventually putting string through.

And voila you have a whole lot of pretty handmade cheap and cheerful Christmas tree or parcel decorations for under 3 pounds!

These can of course be painted by little hands or just put a layer of PVA glue on them to seal them a little. We might even add some PVA and glitter to make them sparkle too.

Another thing you can use is any stamps you may have at home to imprint these on the clay...

We used these and they turned out great.

 Perfect addition to your gifts this festive season too.

Thanks for popping by I do hope you have your own reasons to be cheerful too xox


  1. Despite the cynical and sarcastic nature of my posts most of the year I LOVE Christmas and particularly decorations so this post was right up my street! I have pinned your clay decorations to my Pinterest board for Christmas - they look absolutely lovely, and I have to say came out better than similar salt dough ones we've tried before. Going to have a look for this Das stuff when I get a chance.

    Adorable needle felted robin too - I love him.

  2. These are so beautiful! I wonder if my ancient Fimo is still pliable enough to give these a whirl...

    What an adorable robin. Penny is so talented.

    I must say your daughter's bookcase is wonderfully tidy. (Much tidier than mine.)

  3. I love your decoations...especially the owly one! I wish I awsn't in the middle of moving house so I could find some clay and have a play!

  4. Those decorations are just lovely! I will have to give them a bash - so different to the normal christmas crafty fare served up on blogs.

    I've been both happy about the rain, because we need it, and yet utterly gloomy due to the lack of light. It's been really hard to feel cheerful today - actually I gave up this afternoon and curled up under a rug with a book and have just emerged, feeling a bit chirpier after a good read. :)

  5. Oh I LOVE those decorations, they are SO pretty, I must find time to have a go. I'm glad you like the robin, I knew he'd have a good home with you! Thank you for joining in with Reasons to be Cheerful, it's lovely to find all these happy things to look at,
    Love Penny xxx

  6. They are really sweet! Something my little people would probably love to have a go at. thanks for the idea

  7. Brilliant tutorial...thanks so much... I have only just bought some white Fimo and snowflake cutters... now they will be much prettier and have holes in! :)x

  8. How clever are you! I particularly like the hearts and angels!

  9. They're really lovely...I think I need to do some experimenting myself!

  10. they look lovely Penelope! What a fabulous idea for gifts, I will have to add them to my ever growing to-do list!

  11. So clever! And really pretty. Thanks for the little tute Penelope, I might give something similar a go x

  12. Lovely decorations ~ I might give it a go myself as I'm looking for simple Christmassy things to do with the children ~ Thanks for sharing :O)x

  13. They're lovely, Penelope - I must have a go - how to fit it all in though! Thanks for the tutorial, I do hope I manage to give it a try :)
    Jane x

  14. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, I so want to make some and have something similar to Das. Oh that little robin is so cute, ahh people are so clever.
    xx Sandi

  15. Did I read that right? 6 doilies for 10p?!?!
    I love your decorations - PGA and glitter sounds like a fabulous addition too.
    Have a great weekend x

  16. wow fab tutorial! I will give it a go as looks so easy! :o) thanks for sharing your reasons to be cheeful! x

  17. woweeee thats such a lovely idea x thanks for sharing x

  18. Im so glad i found your blog. loving your ideas!!!